Growth, community, cooperation highlights of Thornton’s State of City address

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Growth. Community. Cooperation. Those were the focuses LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton highlighted during his annual State of the City address Wednesday morning.

“It’s great to be back with you in person … and I hope this is a harbinger of things to come [and] that we’ll be able to continue to meet in person, and we can start to put the pandemic in our review mirror,” Thornton greeted to members of the LaGrange Rotary Club where he gave the address.

Despite the pandemic’s constraints on the community during the last two years, Thornton said LaGrange’s economy is still strong, healthy and “getting better.”

“As a city, we are growing we are thriving and we are improving,” he said. “LaGrange is not perfect, no community is, but I think if you look at some of the developments that have occurred and are currently underway … you’ll see that we’re getting a little bit better, and we’re getting better all the time.”

He noted that while LaGrange was plentiful in job opportunities from both local businesses and large-scale entities like KIA Georgia, there are currently more jobs than there are people. However, growth is still happening, spearing needs such as more housing, parks, and improvements and expansion of the city’s sewer and water systems.

“I believe the growth that we are seeing now is sustainable,” he said. “It’s sustainable because of the underlining economic factors that are driving that growth.”

With the aspect of growth comes needs such as safety, housing, water and sewer access and casual amenities such as parks, Thornton noted.

Highlights documented in the mayor’s address include the incoming park projects like Granger Park and Hamilton Road Park, as well as planned housing developments.

Plans are in place to develop a 144-apartment complex on Main St. in downtown LaGrange as well as redevelop the old Dawson St. School into 67 housing units. Newer plans include developing an 830-acre tract of land on Mooty Bridge Road between Ann Bailey Way and West Point Lake for neighborhood commercial development.

To balance such development, the city is also investing in its water infrastructure. Last year, the city signed a resolution for a $27 million bond to invest in the city’s water and sewer infrastructure.

Thornton said the city’s ongoing partnership with its county counterparts also ensure quality projects, such as the Rosemont School water line, which has the potential to spear more development for that area of the county.

With such progress underway, Thornton noted an importance to keeping progress slow and steady.

“One thing we learned from COVID in the last two years is that there is value to living in places like LaGrange [and] a value to living in small towns. There’s a value to living in communities that maintain their own identities and have quality of life resources,” Thornton said. “We know we want LaGrange to be seen as an attractive and fun place to live, so we’re going to continue to invest in some of those quality of life amenities.”

The mayor’s address can be viewed on the LGTV’s Facebook page and the City of LaGrange’s Facebook page. Free copies of the 2022 Mayor’s Update will be available to the public at City Hall, located at 200 Ridley Ave. The Mayor’s Update 2022 as well as all past reports are also available on the city’s website.